Digital platform to link Chinese hospitals, enable remote diagnosis and reform health care services

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 April, 2018, 7:14pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 April, 2018, 11:16pm

China’s state-run health care system can benefit from the adoption of new technologies which promise to help push down costs while also improving the quality of patient care, with the advantages of digitisation to be more fully leveraged as more hospitals come online.

Shanghai Century Hengkang Medicial (Consulting), operator of a government-backed telemedicine organisation, said it aims to play a leading role in promoting digital in the health care sector by launching a new online platform for hospitals in Shanghai on Wednesday.

The platform, empowered by cloud collaborative computing, can better align hospitals across the nation and overseas to assist remote diagnosis, enable sharing of digital records and conduct online training of clinical staff, according to the company.

The platform will reach 350 Chinese hospitals this year and cover more than 3,000 public hospitals, or 70 per cent of the nation’s total by 2022, according to the operator.

“The cloud collaborative system allows each hospital data storage and retrieval, and the ability to share information with other hospitals on the platform, appealing to those hospitals that are reluctant to hand over their data to a third party cloud operator,” said Ji Kang, chairman of Century Hengkang.

Century Hengkang manages the daily operation of the technology-driven platform for the nation’s dominant telemedicine organisation, whose members including 300 major hospitals in the nation.

On Wednesday, Jiaxing No 1 People’s Hospital in Zhejiang province became the first to sign a contract to use the platform and set up a designated health centre with remote diagnosis facilities.

How is digitalisation taking China closer to its goal of a stronger and efficient economy?

Digitisation has the potential to drastically reshape the country’s health care system with the use of artificial intelligence and other technologies, according to a McKinsey study.

By 2030, digital forces can impact up to 45 per cent of revenue within China’s health care industry, according to the global consultancy.

The disruptive technologies enable remote monitoring and self-management of health care treatment through shared medical resources.

About 80 per cent of hospitals in China are expected to go online by 2023, up from 10 per cent in 2017, according to studies by the Beijing-based consultancy Analysys.

The system will enable digital prescription services, online appointment bookings, online bills payments and remote diagnosis among cooperating hospitals, according to Analysys.

Health care expenditure in China has outpaced the nation’s economic growth during the past decade, as health consciousness has grown in lockstep with rising consumer affluence.